PHI Contemporary, Montreal, Canada
PHI is widely recognized for its cutting-edge explorations of art and society, as well as its vivid curiosity for new technologies as embedded features of contemporary life. Located in Old Montreal, comprising an assemblage of four historical buildings and an adjacent vacant lot, the new PHI Contemporary will consolidate, extend and intersect PHI’s cultural offer, its communities, and the public life of the city.
Our design for PHI Contemporary offers new directions. It resonates with a pluriform, complex, and inclusive consciousness. Immersion into its spaces unlocks paths toward new directions.
Taking cues from navigational stone piles erected by indigenous peoples, as from masonry construction methods of early settlements, volumes pack tightly along the street front, which becomes a filter that can only be passed at the crevices between the stones. This transformative threshold affects everything and everyone making their way through. As you move deeper into the site, the space reveals new dimensions. Navigation through this space happens through specific spatial “incidents” that are the result of carvings and cuts - they reveal sectional relationships and visual connections between sometimes contradictory programs.
An ambiguity of exterior and interior and an open-ended form allow for a multitude of journeys, readings, and interpretations. Amid this dense plethora of spatial experiences, one can discover a sublime void. Devoid of distractions, here everything is serene, muted, and soft. Its lack of definition offers total freedom for now and the future.